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Dec 17th, 2008

Shoe-Hurler Sparks Chaos in Iraq’s Parliament

Speaker quits amid debate over whether ‘beaten’ journalist should be freed

Image: Iraqi protestors hold up a shoe
Khalil Al-Murshidi / AFP — Getty Images

Associated Press and Reuters via
Dec. 17, 2008

BAGHDAD — Iraq’s parliament speaker announced his resignation Wednesday after a parliamentary session descended into chaos as lawmakers argued about whether to free a journalist who threw his shoes at President George W. Bush.

The speaker, Mahmoud al-Mashhadani, has threatened to resign before and has been suspended for embarrassing the prime minister with erratic behavior.

On Wednesday, after arguments erupted among lawmakers over the fate of the journalist Muntadhar al-Zeidi, the speaker said: “I have no honor leading this parliament and I announce my resignation.” …

‘Your farewell kiss’

The reporter shouted in Arabic, “This is your farewell kiss, you dog!” In Iraqi culture, throwing shoes at someone is a sign of deep contempt, and his actions have drawn huge demonstrations of support among many in Iraq and throughout the Arab world.

In parliament, lawmakers had gathered to review a resolution calling for all non-U.S. troops to withdraw from Iraq by the end of June but those loyal to radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr interrupted the session.

They said parliament should focus on al-Zeidi’s case rather than the proposed legislation. The argument escalated with lawmakers screaming at each other, and finally leading al-Mashhadani to announce his resignation, said Wisam al-Zubaidi, an adviser to Khalid al-Attiyah, parliament’s deputy speaker. …

Thousands demand journalist’s release

Thousands have taken to the streets in the days since al-Zeidi’s arrest, heralding his actions and calling for his release.

About 1,500 demonstrators took to the streets Wednesday in the Baghdad Sunni neighborhood of Azamiyah to demand his release. Al-Zeidi was kidnapped in the same neighborhood last year and was freed unharmed a few days later.

“This is a natural reaction to the American acts of tyranny and occupation in Iraq,” said demonstrator Khalil al-Obeidi, a resident of Azamiyah. …

Conflict in Iraq video

Was invading Iraq — right? (MSNBC, Dec. 16, 2008) — A “Hardball” panel discusses Vice President Dick Cheney’s interview with ABC News in which he justifies the decision to invade Iraq. (14:15)


Baghdad Bombs Kill 18, Wound Dozens

British troops to pull out by May

Image: Traffic policeman wounded in Baghdad bombing
A traffic policeman who was wounded in a bomb attack is treated at a Baghdad hospital Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2008. (Photo credit: Atef Hassan / Reuters)

Dec. 17, 2008

BAGHDAD — A double-bombing targeting traffic police in eastern Baghdad killed at least 18 people and wounded 52 others Wednesday.

An Iraqi police official said the first blast was from a car bomb. Moments later, a roadside bomb went off nearby as people rushed to the scene. …

The U.S. military said a roadside bomb exploded near an American patrol hours earlier in the same area but that there were no deaths or injuries.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Gordon Brown said Wednesday that the British mission in Iraq will end no later than May 31, 2009. …

Brown’s announcement follows news that the Iraqi government issued a resolution calling for all non-U.S. troops to withdraw by the end of July. …

Conflict in Iraq video

Twin blasts kill 18 in Iraq (MSNBC, Dec. 17, 2008) — A pair of deadly bombings in Baghdad. The second bomb went off when people rushed to help those injured in the first.’s Dara Brown reports. (00:49)


Iraqi Minister Escapes Car Bombing

The wreckage of a vehicle used in a bomb attack lies on a road in Baghdad, Dec. 16, 2008. A car bomb exploded in central Baghdad targeting a convoy of Iraq’s Minister of Science and Technology, police sources said. (Photo credit: Reuters / Saad Shalash)

Dec. 16, 2008

BAGHDAD — Iraqi Science and Technology Minister Raed Fahmy escaped unhurt on Tuesday from a car bomb which appeared to be an assassination attempt, police said.

Police said three people, including one of the minister’s bodyguards, were injured when the bomb exploded near his convoy in central Baghdad.

Fahmy heads a committee formed by the Iraqi government to find a political solution to the disputes over the oil-rich city of Kirkuk. Ethnic Kurds claim it as their ancestral homeland and want it incorporated into semi-autonomous Kurdistan, but Arabs and Turkmen want it kept under central government control.

Some analysts and officials fear the city could become a flashpoint that may reignite the sectarian bloodshed that raged in Iraq for years after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion and which has only now begun to ease.

Despite a significant drop in violence in recent months, car and suicide bombings remain common.


Security Developments in Iraq 

Following are security developments in Iraq on Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2008, as reported by Reuters.

BAGHDAD – A bomb wounded five people, including three policemen, when it struck a police patrol near Andalus Square in central Baghdad, police said.

RASHAD – The police chief of Rashad town escaped death when a roadside bomb detonated near his convoy and wounded two of his bodyguards, 20 miles south of Kirkuk, police said.

RABEA – A suicide bomber wounded four Iraqi soldiers when he attacked their patrol in Rabea, a town near the Syrian border, on Monday, police said. 

MOSUL – A bomb killed two civilians in al-Shoura town, 40 miles south of the northern city of Mosul, 240 miles north of Baghdad on Monday, police said.

6 Responses to “Bush Shoe-Hurler Sparks Chaos”
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